Those of us who are parents know about caregiving. Though our level of caregiving is in what we think of as the “natural order” of things. Parents care for their children. At least until those children are old enough to care for themselves.
Then there comes the time in life when we must care for those who once cared for us. I have learned a lot about that from my fabulous friend Dresden, who willingly gave up a terrific career and moved across the country to care for her grandmother after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Dresden is a force. She is bright. She is tender. And she is strong.
Taking care of an older parent or grandparent can mean anything from handling their bills, to helping them with meals, to driving them to appointments, and more. My own mother is dealing with this now as she and my uncle are the primary caregivers for my grandmother, who relies on them tremendously.
Right now in the United States, 42 million people between the ages 40 – 60 (primarily women) are faced with the challenge of providing care to their older loved ones in some way each and every day.
It is so important for caregivers to take care of themselves too. New research from AARP suggests that caregiving can take a tremendous toll on a caregiver’s personal health and general wellbeing. Many caregivers do not self-identify as such, so they can be reluctant to ask for help. Fortunately, there are some great, helpful resources, tools and experts available for caregivers at aarp.org/caregiving.
The Thanks Project is an online platform that enables caregivers to publically recognize the parents whom they care for. Each individual ‘thanks’ will be integrated into the interactive tapestry, representing the 42 million caregivers in the US. Caregivers everywhere deserve to be recognized for the important work that they do. Especially as Father’s Day approaches this weekend, you can honor the parent you care for by visiting ThanksProject.org.
Thanks to the Ad Council and AARP for supplying the information regarding these caregiver tools.